The Henderson Castle, located on the steep of West Main Hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo, is not an establishment I would have ever considered ‘kid-friendly’. The Castle is a Queen-Ann style mansion with such features as heated marble floors and crystal chandeliers. It has owned by Chef Francois Moyet and operates as a Bed & Breakfast and French restaurant.
Our Princess Tea Experience At Henderson Castle
However, the castle does offer an event specifically designed to delight the younger children – a Princess Tea experience. Children have the opportunity to mingle with several characters over tea/savories. The experience includes storytelling, pictures, dancing and a guided tour of the castle. I was able to visit the castle recently with my two daughters.
The Princess tea was very well organized. Generally, the event accommodates up to 50 guests. On this day, there were over 65 in attendance! The staff mentioned this was one of their largest gatherings to date. They did a nice job with the extra attendees so it didn’t feel too crowded.
We were seated in the main dining area and shortly after everyone arrived the Princesses were escorted down the stairs by Prince Charming while the guests were served tea, fruit punch and savories. In attendance were Tiana, Belle, Snow White, Jasmin, Cinderella, Prince Charming and of course Elsa. One princess told me that Elsa and Cinderella are always in attendance due to their popularity, but that the other princesses could vary. Each Princess sat at one of the dining tables with guests and was happy to oblige picture-taking and answer questions. They were friendly and made sure to talk to each girl at the table.
All of the princesses and children gathered in a circle for story-time, led by Prince Charming. Next was the tour of the castle. Each princess had a ‘room’ and would show the girls her room and answer any questions. I enjoyed this part of the experience the most – the adults had ample time to explore the castle rooms. My girls loved learning about which room Elsa stayed in when she visited the castle!
One the third floor of the castle a small room was set up to color pictures and the girls could have the princesses autograph their picture. This was followed by dancing in the ballroom. The last portion of the visit was an opportunity to have pictures taken with all of the princesses.
The general age group of the children in attendance was age 3-5, with a few older girls. I have a 5-year old and almost 7-year old and I was curious to see how my older daughter would like the Princess tea since she has grown out of that ‘stage’. She loved the entire castle experience! She said her favorite part was eating the food – the fancy presentation and goblet to drink her fruit punch.
All-in-all, an enjoyable afternoon!
Some Things To Know Before You Go
- The cost is $25.00 (plus tax and gratuities), per person
- Let the staff know when you make the reservations if you have any dietary restrictions or seating preferences (i.e. with other friends attending)
- The savories served are just that – a small sampling of food – so plan on having lunch before the event or eating afterwards
- On the tour, make sure to check out the “Queen’s Tower” room on the 3rd floor of the castle. The room has outdoor balcony access with an amazing view of downtown Kalamazoo.
- Little princess gift baskets are on display for sale for $9.99 and include a tiara, wand, stickers, tattoo and bubbles. Most girls came dressed in a princess outfit or dress. I would recommend bringing a tiara or wand from home if you have one.
Update To This Review
Henderson Castle has made several changes to improve their guest experience at the Princess Tea event. Cinderella leads an etiquette dining course during tea time and the guests do an arts and craft after the tour of the castle. The menu has been enhanced with children and adults receiving different plates. Adults lunch plate includes a turkey wrap, pasta salad and chocolate mousse. The children receive Macaroni and cheese cakes, tiara-shaped pizza, hot dog twists, a fruit and yogurt dish along with other treats.
For More Information
Princess Tea events are held monthly on a Sundays from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. For more information visit the website or call (269) 344-1827.